Another Layton tribute -- Screening on the Hill
Roughly 18 months ago, the House of Commons was a sea of blue ties -- a cross-partisan gesture of support for Jack Layton's fight against prostate cancer. (Photo comes from Canadian Press, via the CBC's website.)
Today, with Layton gone, his seat left symbolically open for the day yesterday, MPs will be participating in yet another cross-partisan salute to Jack's fight against the disease. From 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. today, in the office of Commons' Speaker Andrew Scheer, prostate-cancer screening tests will be held. By poignant coincidence perhaps, this is Awareness Week in Canada for this all-too-common form of cancer. Prostate Cancer Canada is reminding us that one in seven men in Canada will be diagnosed with this disease during a lifetime. Early diagnosis, usually coming from the kind of PSA-screening test being conducted today on Parliament Hill, makes it a very curable disease, though. And indeed, at Layton's last news conference in July, he made clear that it wasn't prostate cancer, but a second, still unspecified cancer, that had struck him.
Layton, you'll also recall, had hip surgery earlier this year that kept him on crutches in the scrums during the leadup to the election. Again, coincidentally, another leader is headed for hip surgery this month -- Green Party leader Elizabeth May. She's scheduled to go into the hospital next week (this will be her second hip surgery) and she told me yesterday she wanted to be up and back in the Commons as soon as possible. I think we'd urge her to take all the time she needs -- we don't have another election for four years.
I think we can expect that there will be a huge turnout for the Prostate Cancer event today on the Hill. If it's anything like yesterday, in fact, MPs will be at their best selves when it comes to Layton tributes outside the normal parliamentary business. But sorry to report, when it comes to Question Period, all indications are that, in the words of John Baird yesterday, it's "same old, same old" rancour across the aisle of the Commons. From both sides.